Lotus Elan

Maximum tire width for Plus 2?

PostPost by: The Veg » Thu Mar 05, 2020 11:29 pm

I have this friend. Every time he sees a picture of my Plus 2 he says it needs a lot more wheel & tire under it; I think his last such statement said 7" wide. That sounds a tad ridiculous to me for such a light car, to say nothing of the modified wheel-arches that would be necessary. Of course I can forgive his thought process here, after all he does drive a hot-rodded WRX STI!

I'd love to hear what you guys think of his opinion! :mrgreen:
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PostPost by: el-saturn » Fri Mar 06, 2020 12:04 am

the basic theory is simple: the more rubber to the road (+softness or friction) the better: therefore 145 width is worst case. unless your 105hp are, due to carelessness, down to 60 (low compression, timing, wiring etc...) so you don't seem to worry...................that's cool for some .... a plus2 may take 205s???... if so, go for it sandy
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PostPost by: benymazz » Fri Mar 06, 2020 12:25 am

I've toyed with the idea. Unless you're really in to spirited driving I think the stock widths on an Elan (and probably the plus 2 as well) are enough. I recall reading in another thread on here that running wider wheels on an Elan is not so much about the extra grip they provide but more about the extra stability they provide to the car because of the increased track width.

This is mostly out of my wheelhouse though, so I too will defer to someone who knows more. I used to run 5" Minilites on my Elan but have since changed back to the stock 4.5" rims (although I painted the rims black... call me an idiot but I think it looks cooler especially with the chrome hubcaps). The Minilites rubbed on everything - anti roll bar at the front when the wheel was at full lock, sometimes the front fenders, rear wishbone bolts... I don't know what the +2 has in terms of margins for larger wheels but knowing Lotus I can't believe it's much.

To say nothing of how dumb the car would look with 7" rims. It would practically look like a monster truck at that point :lol:

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PostPost by: The Veg » Sat Mar 07, 2020 2:53 am

I agree about the 'monster truck effect.'

At what point though does the contact patch become large enough that the reduced weight per square inch of contact patch start to become an issue?
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PostPost by: stugilmour » Sat Mar 07, 2020 7:23 am

I had 175/70R13 tires at one point. I prefer the stock 165/80R13’s though.

Back in the day, a friend of mine installed the then new BF Goodrich Radial T/A’s that were the bees kneez, particularly with the muscle car guys. Destroyed the handling. Guessing they were a similar size; wasn’t the idea wider and lower profile on the stock rim size?

I recently bought a set of 14” rims, and will probably try 175/70R14 if I install them in the future. Very close to stock diameter, hopefully fit stock rear springs, and look very cool. More selection available.

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PostPost by: The Veg » Sat Mar 07, 2020 2:38 pm

What wheels did you get Stu? Not high on my priorities at the moment, but the greater selection of 14" rubber is one of those things lingering in the back of my mind.
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PostPost by: Gopherit » Sun Mar 08, 2020 2:02 pm

915F-AsBought.JPG and
When we bought our first +2 it had 205/60/R14s on the rear, mounted on 14x7 period Revolutions with stock rear struts. Fronts were same wheels with 185/55/R14s, again stock suspenders. This had mighty grip in the dry but springs and shocks had not been changed to suit.

After the 1st rebuild we put on 51/2Jx13 steels because I wanted to use A021Rs for road and the occasional trackday and they were then the control tyre for the BRISCA F2 stockers which meant they were available at £40 a corner - bargain and we did loads of miles on them - wasn't fussed about wear but in fact they weren't that bad and extremely good in the wet. Coilovers on the rear, Adjustable Protech strut inserts, Protech shocks on the front, springs various.

May try the 14s again with 195s after the current rebuild (engine fire destroyed all the front) but initiall the 13s will go back on. Not sure how MOT man will view the A021rs though!

....and before you all howl, yes the skirts have gone!

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PostPost by: dougal cawley » Mon Apr 06, 2020 12:11 pm

el-saturn wrote:the basic theory is simple: the more rubber to the road (+softness or friction) the better:


Sorry that is completely wrong.

Can i encourage you to have a look on here https://www.longstonetyres.co.uk/classi ... /elan.html

What you want for the race track is different to what you want for the road.

Please bare in mind that low profile tyres were developed in 1968 and Lotus did not fit them.

If you are going to go wider you will benefit from a period tyre i would recomend the Cinturato CN36 listed on that page, as it is a wider tyre designed to compliment car design of the period.
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PostPost by: HCA » Mon Apr 06, 2020 3:08 pm

el-saturn wrote:the basic theory is simple: the more rubber to the road (+softness or friction) the better:


I beg to differ. There might be one or two reasons for more rubber, but there are a lot more saying otherwise. I doubt from the sound of it that the OP is racing the car nor does it sound that s/he has the necessary extra bhp to do wider tyres justice. It is purely a comment from a friend with a WRX where muscle looks good and often it only looks good.

I confess to not yet knowing the handling of an Elan intimately, but for road use, I would want to benefit from ride comfort and steering comfort by keeping away from lots of rubber! Especially with the Elan's reputation for handling straight out of the box!
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PostPost by: alan.barker » Mon Apr 06, 2020 4:27 pm

+1
a +2 Elan is so nice straight out of the Box. I've had 3 different +2 Elans in the past and they drove very well.
Nothing messed up and just as Chapman meant them to be.
My Elan Sprint is more delicate and like a Ballet.
Alan
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PostPost by: The Veg » Tue Apr 07, 2020 3:36 am

HCA wrote:I beg to differ. There might be one or two reasons for more rubber, but there are a lot more saying otherwise. I doubt from the sound of it that the OP is racing the car nor does it sound that s/he has the necessary extra bhp to do wider tyres justice. It is purely a comment from a friend with a WRX where muscle looks good and often it only looks good.

I confess to not yet knowing the handling of an Elan intimately, but for road use, I would want to benefit from ride comfort and steering comfort by keeping away from lots of rubber! Especially with the Elan's reputation for handling straight out of the box!


You are correct; I have no plans to do anything crazy with my Plus 2's rubber!
1969/70 Elan Plus 2 (not S) 50/2036
"It just wouldn't be a complete day if I didn't forget something!" -Me
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PostPost by: Hethel_Haus » Tue Apr 07, 2020 7:12 pm

RF Wheel Arch.JPG and
RF Wheel Arch Damage.JPG and
My '73 +2S 130/5 is currently shod with 185/70 R13 tires. A good chunk of the fiberglass has been torn out of the lower front edge of each front wheel arch. My front springs are not adjustable to set the height so I am thinking about going back to the original 165/55 R13 tires. 23.2" vs. 20.1" in diameter. Attached are a couple of photos of the damage. Could someone post a closeup of what the original arch profile was?
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PostPost by: mbell » Tue Apr 07, 2020 8:09 pm

165r13 are the original tire size. Which is now closest to 165/80r13 in modern sizes.
'73 +2 130/5 RHD, now on the road and very slowly rolling though a "restoration"
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PostPost by: h20hamelan » Tue Apr 07, 2020 8:11 pm

I go for winters

1. Best sticky compound
2. Best hydroplaning prevention

And there are plenty of good choices in N.A.
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